Tuning out Noise

In the course of a Delhi day, there are few silent moments. The sun rises on a busy street, several cars and their owners already enroute their destinations. Birds complain of the smokey air, their song laced with grievances. Onboard the Delhi Metro, I tried several methods to tune the noise out. Excuse my non tolerance, but it continued to get to me – the endless chatter, the people sitting on the floor despite instructions not to, the wailing children, the sleepy morning faces, people announcing their Europe trips to all the people in the coach! My phone hasn’t exactly been designed to play/store much music; the poor network connectivity impedes conversation with anyone I feel like talking to at that hour. To cut a long story short, the Dell Venue tablet came to me as a gust of lifting wind, breaking right through the layers of dust a Delhi day puts on my being.

I received the tablet a week or so ago, as part of Dell’s Blogger Review Program. Now, I am not your typical gadget freak.

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The Kite Flyers: Book Review

The Kite Flyers

With a title that so resembles Khaled Hosseini’s renowned work (“The Kite Runner”), it is impossible to not draw up a comparison. This is especially so when the book in question deals with friendship and fate – themes not far removed from Hosseini’s masterpiece. However, to Sharad Paul’s credit, what he has managed to create is a refreshing read that holds its own throughout.

The Kite Flyers is the tale of three friends – Raman, Kumar and Lakshmi – who grow up together in erstwhile Tamil Nadu.

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When Safety Gets Evasive


*picture from http://www.wshc.sg

I distinctly remember the time when I first moved out of home. The suitcases were jam-packed with homemade snacks, the handbags rife with religious symbolism. “The Gods will help ward all danger off, my dear.” drawled my dear Granny. She tucked in a bottle of pepper spray when she thought I wasn’t looking. The Gods too, I nodded mentally, need a weapon of action. My point being, leaving one’s safety to intangible assistance is hardly an option in these – as Lord Krishna points out in Mahabharat – corrupt, self destructing era of kalyug.

Pune conventionally has a ‘safer’ reputation than good old Delhi. All the more reason to take safety in your own hands and let the beautiful city remain thus. Here are a bunch of safety tips that have always held me in good stead in lands away from the comfort of sweet home.

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Bring in the divine this Diwali

The Sampoorna Lakshmi Pooja Pack

The Sampoorna Lakshmi Pooja Pack: Everyone has a reason to pray

It’s that time of the year again. The roads are blocked, the markets are laced with gold streamers and houses are being spring-cleaned. Every year, when Diwali arrives, I am reminded of a very fond Dadi of mine. She would perform Lakshmi Pooja at home though several Bengalis usually celebrate the day as Kali Pooja. This entailed armfuls of prasad – all of it very tempting. When I came across Cycle Pure Agarbatti’s Sampoorna Lakshmi Pooja Pack, all I could visualize was Dadi and those armfuls of prasad. This neat and very easy-to-use pack is exactly like the magic wand that swings and behold, the stage is set.

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Not Only The Things That Have Happened: Book Review

Not Only The Things That Have Happened

“…it’s important to remember not only the things that have happened. She said it is important to remember what will happen.”

As the 352 pages of Mridula Koshy’s ‘Not Only The Things That Have Happened’ narrate a tale – and so compellingly at that – crypticness gives way to wonder, melancholy and loveliness. In a story that unfolds only in a matter of a few hours, life travels across time and geographies, across other lives and lives that could have been. A woman grows up from a little mother to the rightful mother of a lost boy. The lost boy, on his part, struggles to complete the tale of his broken childhood. And if for nothing else but the scope for introspection that the tale provides, this is a book that deserves to be read.

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A Talaash gone awry


I came out of Talaash searching for an auto-rickshaw. There were none. Later that night, I hopped onto bed searching for a dream. Coincidentally, there were none there either. Apparently, whodunit tales with a spook amidst the cast do not make for velvety dreams. Day after day of tasks to be finished and survived with people who know it all do. They make for nightmares. Anyway, I digress. We were talking of Talaash.

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Prey By The Ganges: Book Review

[Indian Fiction/Thriller – INR 295/-]

I thought hunting was banned in the country…

Oh, you probably also thought that an Indian Fiction book has to have ‘Love’ in the title. Not only does ‘Prey by the Ganges’ not obey, but debut author Hemant Kumar ensures the cover [see picture] is as away from any semblance of love as possible. When the final page is flipped though, I can’t help but wonder about the brainstorming behind composing the cover.

So, who is preyed upon?

The book opens on a cold night in a forest by the Ganges. While you might expect an obvious thriller to start off on a sober note and jerk you off your seat with the sudden gush of adrenaline, Hemant doesn’t agree. What Vaidya Shambhu and his assistant Hariya encounter in the deceptive silence of the night is the cold-blooded killing of Shambhu’s friend Ravi. His eyeballs pop out of his sockets; there is blood congealed on his skull. You get it. Utter and hard-hitting gore.

Sounds creepy. What follows?

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In The Hot Unconscious: Book Review

In the Hot Unconscious

A foreigner comes visiting the country of temples, sadhus and snakes, err leeches. Rings a bell, eh? But this time, he isn’t a binocular-holding American. Instead, he’s ‘English’. Straight from the culture that ‘contributed nothing to this country but misery’, or so articulated by an interesting man in a railway coach. As Charles Foster proceeds ‘In the Hot Unconscious’ with his journey through India, he doesn’t click pictures of the Taj Mahal. But he does make sure that the reader, all set with a scrutinizing gaze and an open mind, prods along.

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The Sunny Side of Life, with Lakme

The Beach

*picture from jennys-southerncomfort.blogspot.com

Last time I heard from Kyra, she was shopping in a sweltering Chennai. Haggling over a pair of glitter earrings. “How much is he asking for anyway? Ten bucks?” “Ha, that’s the point. He is asking for fifteen!”

I sighed. Kyra and her sun-philia. It had given me many queer afternoons in the sun. Shopkeepers stared at us like we were out of our minds and a few were even insolent enough to make personal remarks. You know, stuff like –“what girl roams around haggling in the sun?”. Never mind how insulting that was to the target audience of their ‘junk’ jewellery. I would look guiltily at my skin and it would turn browner under my gaze. Kyra would roll her eyes and tug at my arm. With her shower-fresh, manicured hands.

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The Asocial Networking: Book Review

The Asocial Networking

(Non Fiction INR 195/-)

“Once upon a time human beings lived offline, then networking came along and nobody lived happily thereafter…”

We figure. It takes but a few pages for the book to live up to its name. And how! Dhiraj Kumar’s latest offering runs around with a dagger at all things Social-Networking and at the slightest provocation, makes for the kill. Written all through with what seems like a viewpoint severely jilted at the altar, everything (well, almost) about this 320-pager screams “asocial”.

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